A Magical Day in Seoul, South Korea

First of all - let me tell you that we are currently in Sooke, BC and it is so freaking amazing here… I cannot wait to tell you guys all about it!  I have been posting lots on my instagram stories - but I am super excited to get posting about all the awesome things that Sooke has to offer!

I was inspired to write this blog post though in response to Vancouver International Airport recently being crowned the best airport in the world by the CAPA Centre for Aviation.   This was trending on facebook all last week - and I must say - Vancouver is a pretty awesome airport, and I was super proud that it is the first North American airport to win the award.   BUT... as a traveller who has been to so so sooo many airports - I felt it was high time to share which airport I think is easily the best airport in the world - and there is no question... it is definitely Incheon International Airport. 

Can I just put a disclaimer here that I am in no way, shape, or form being paid for this post.   I have travelled through Incheon International Airport twice, and the experience I am going to share was before I even had a blog.  This is just my honest, unbiased opinion.  This particular day was one of the most memorable days of my entire life.  It was so special… and it heavily involved Incheon airport services.  

Seoul, South Korea

The first time we flew into Incheon International, we had a 6 hour layover.  We really wanted to take the opportunity to see some of the Seoul/Incheon area… but we were overwhelmed by the thought of taking public transportation with only 6 hours in a foreign country, and so instead we pondered where we could take a cab and narrowed down a few top choices of where we wanted to see while we were in the area.   As we began to descend, the flight attendant started her descent schpeel, she mentioned that if you had a long layover you should take advantage of the free tour service offered by Incheon International Airport.  Wait… what?!  I didn't honestly believe that they would offer free tours, so once we had landed and taxied I asked the flight attendant.  She smiled and assured us that yes!  There are definitly free tours of the Seoul/Incheon airport offered while on a long layover.  She guided us to simply follow the signs to the information booth. 

Yonggungsa Temple

We felt like we had just won the traveller lottery and almost ran to the information booth (well marked and super easy to find) that not only indeed offered free tours during your layover - but gave you a list that offered multiple choices of tours that you could take...usually dependant on the length of your layover.   There were tours offered anywhere from 1-5 hours long, so nearly anyone with a decent layover can see a little piece of Korea.  We decided on the one hour long Yonggungsa Temple tour, to be followed by the two hour long Heungryunsa Temple & Incheon Landing Operation Memorial Hall tour.  The process could not have been easier - and soon we were on a tour bus - ready to see Yonggungsa Temple. 

Yonggungsa Temple was so serene and so beautiful.  It was so peaceful and quiet and we were able to have an incredible & memorable afternoon taking it all in.  Apart from learning so much in a short period of time (the guides speak impeccable English and are more than happy to chat with you about all the history and they are extremely knowledgable), their were lots of great photo-ops!

Courtney at Yonggungsa Temple

We returned back to the airport to catch our second tour bus, which took us to the absolutely STUNNING Heungryunsa Temple.

108 steps at Heungryunsa Temple

The temple starts out with an oddly serene set of 108 stairs - representing the 108 torments of mankind (from Buddhist Principles).  Reaching the top of the stairs (slightly sweaty), every twist and turn you take is a gorgeous piece of the magic art that makes up this landmark. 

Heungryunsa Temple
Heungryunsa Temple

The poor tour guide had a hard time wrangling everyone in from Heungryunsa Temple so we had a bit of a rushed visit at the Incheon Landing Operation Memorial Hall.

Memorial Hall

The structure of the Memorial Hall itself was soo impressive.  It was massive and sooo beautiful!

Memorial Hall

The battle of Incheon was monumental in the Korean War,  ending both a string of victories by North Korean forces, but also resulting in the re-capture of Seoul by UN Forces.  I had been so obsessed with studying North Korea that I found this memorial hall and its history so fascinating.

On top of the obviously AMAZING free tours… Incheon offers incredible services such as free showers, lounge rooms that are actually quiet & comfortable for napping and really awesome food.  Let this pizza speak for itself:

How was your last layover? …..

Needless to say… Incheon International Airport is by far the best airport experience I have ever had… but I want to know yours!  Hit me up on Instagram or Twitter @wayfaretrail & let me know or tell me in the comments below!

Love you guys, happy travels <3 

Court 

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